In early June, AAFSW members Elaine Neumann and Ann La Porta were at the resort village of Chautauqua, New York where their husbands were speaking about current foreign affairs to about 100 participants in a week long program for Roads Scholars (formerly Elder Hostel). A session was added so that Elaine and Ann, along with another Foreign Service spouse, Lillian Ford, could speak about family life in the Foreign Service.
The three of them represented more than 100 years of Foreign Service life. As a panel they told stories of unaccompanied assignments, hostage taking events, having to travel 1000 miles to make an international phone call. There were the scary events, where a husband is in an Embassy that is being bombed or taken over by Japanese Red Terrorists, the unusual events, giving birth and becoming owner/director of an international school in Iran, the difficulties of maintaining careers in a peripatetic lifestyle. Typical Foreign Service family lives.
Elaine and Ann gave credit to AAFSW for helping families survive and survive well. The audience lapped it up; there were many questions and only one person was caught napping. It was an opportunity to show people from across America and Canada what raising families and living the diplomatic life is really all about.